First published in 1970, this is the delightful tale of a frog and a toad who reconcile their natural amphibious differences to become the best of friends. A classic by the brilliant Arnold Lobel, Frog and Toad Are Friends is, quite simply, essential reading for everyone over the age of one!
There is something ever-so familiar about this sprightly frog and melancholic toad duo who demonstrate time and again all that is important and valuable about friendship. There are five tales, starting with the opening ‘Spring’ where we meet Toad with his first – and telling – exclamation of “Blah”. Frog is thrilled that “The sun is shining! The snow is melting” and that they are about to begin a whole new year of adventures together. Toad is in bed and resolutely refusing to participate, stating that Frog can return when it is “half past May”. The ever-optimistic Frog swiftly comes up with a plan of action.
And so it goes on story after story. An eager Frog with big ideas, a cheerful disposition and a glass-half-full attitude keenly encouraging a less-than-eager Toad into action.
There is ‘The Story’, in which Frog asks Toad to tell him a story while Frog lies ill in bed. Ultimately, Frog gets out of bed and tells Toad the story in a beautiful turning-on-its-head twist. Then ‘A Lost Button’, in which Toad bemoans the loss of a white, four-holed, big, round, thick button. Children will laugh at Toad’s wails of ‘That is not my button’ every time some creature shows up with a ‘found’ button. And in ‘A Swim’, Toad and Frog go swimming only to have Toad refuse to come out of the river ‘because Toad thinks he looks funny in his bathing suit’. The fifth and final story is ‘The Letter’, in which Toad reflects on the unhappy state of his empty postbox – and Frog sets out to prove to his friend that it is always worth checking your mailbox, just in case.
In those famous words “If you love…”, the truth is that, if you love Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie, you’ll love Frog and Toad! They are a classic pairing of opposites that will have your child laughing, shouting out loud, and repeating the stories long after the book has been put away
The stories may be adored by children, but parents will fall in love with them too. They are clever, witty, poignant and a great reminder of all that is great about friendship and optimism. These books are also flagged up as I Can Read books, and with Arnold Lobel’s beautifully crafted repeating of phrases, these books are a perfect way to introduce children to the structure of words and sentences. Children are reassured by familiar patterns – after all this is how memory games, nursery rhymes and even Lego building inspire such enthusiastic action. With each of the Frog and Toad stories, children quickly identify the repetitive pattern of words and phrases and will soon move from repeating the key phrases (e.g., “That is NOT my button”) to pointing out those same repeating words as letters and phrases on the page.
Utterly divine and a must for every bookshelf!
Author Notes American author and illustrator Arnold Lobel was born in Los Angeles and studied illustration at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. By the time of his death in 1987 (at the age of 55) his legacy included over 100 children’s books he either wrote (including the four Frog and Toad titles and the Mister Muster series) or illustrated, including titles by Edward Lear, Charlotte Zolotow and Jean van Leeuwen. In 1971 he was the runner-up for the Caldecott Medal with Frog and Toad Are Friends, and Hildilid’s Night in 1972, and in 1981, he won the Caldecott Medal for Fables. Lobel and his wife Anita, who is also an illustrator, had two children. Lobel once said “I cannot think of any work that would be could be more agreeable and fun than making books for children.”